Connect With Our Team
Connection is one of the most valuable tools for your business. Sometimes its hard to know which direction to go in.
ChristchurchNZ’s business and investment team are a knowledgeable mix of professional, strategic thinkers. Identifying opportunities and building relationships is what they love and will link you to people and networks right for you.
Your business journey one of a kind. Connect with us and we'll help you grow.
Paul Wilkinson - Head Of Commercial And Skills Attraction
Paul comes to ChristchurchNZ with a wealth of economic development experience, both internationally and in Aotearoa. His roles have primarily focused on the promotion, attraction, and facilitation of foreign investment, but he has also worked on trade facilitation, and economic analysis. Having also been a small business owner, he has deep understanding of the different drivers of the public sector and private business. Most of his career has focused on strategies and initiatives where the two intersect, to deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.
Paul loves learning about the amazing things Christchurch companies are doing, and by making connections, being a small but valuable part of their growth journeys. He is a cheerleader for the city, working to bring investment and jobs.
In his spare time he practices Kyokushin Karate, rides his mountain bike, and is trying to put back together a classic car that was so easy to dismantle.
Emma Renowden - Aerospace Cluster Lead
Emma is an experienced strategic partnerships manager who is passionate about the role of innovation and technology in addressing some of the world's most significant challenges. In her role at ChristchurchNZ, Emma is responsible for developing an ambitious city strategy for the Aerospace sector, with the goal of harnessing the economic opportunities it presents.
Prior to her current role, Emma's career focused on health tech, where she held various positions in NZ and the UK, all centred around innovation within the health and disability sector.
Emma has always loved supporting innovators, especially those that help people, so her ChristchurchNZ role ticks all right the boxes.
Hamish McGowan - Food, Fibre and Agritech Cluster Lead
Hamish’s career has been focused on commercialisation and getting innovation, research, and development into the marketplace. At ChristchurchNZ he leads the Food Fibre and Agritech cluster connecting companies, people and teams to inspire focus and growth.
Hamish brings strong communication skills to his role and especially enjoys working with market focussed professionals, technicians, engineers and scientists.
Out of work, Hamish spends time outdoors mountain biking, hiking, and skiing.
Dianna Rhodes - Business Growth Manager
With an experienced professional with a background in global fintech and SaaS, Dianna leads a team overseeing the Business Sustainability and Growth work programme and manages the Regional Business Partner Network for the Canterbury region. Her responsibilities include developing business growth and sustainability strategies, building and managing relationships with Central Government and key government agencies, managing government contracts with a value of over $6m, and designing business support programmes and tools.
Previously, Dianna was an Innovation Specialist at the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce where she delivered the Callaghan Innovation component of the Regional Business Partner (RBP) Programme and has held other business management roles in the UK and New Zealand.
Dianna is a strategic thinker, collaborator, and relationship builder with a knack for identifying opportunities. She has experience in managing commercial products and data product portfolios, developing product strategies, and implementing product roadmaps.
Anton Holzner - Business Growth Advisor
After graduating with a German University degree in Management and Marketing, Anton has worked in numerous roles and developed a strong business skill set. Controlling and Taxation, Certified Business Coach and Trainer, SCRUM MasterWorking for big corporations such as Amazon plus government funded institutions and NFPsRunning start-up and labour market focused programmes in both Germany and Aotearoa.
Anton has a huge curiousty to learn about innovative and sustainability-oriented product and business ideas and is passionate about connecting businesses with the right resources in Christchurch and beyond and watch them grow.
Dad to schnoodle Archie, Anton spends as much time outdoors as possible, growing vegetables and hiking while trying his best to try out all the great Christchurch food places, with Asian fusion as the favourite.
Shawn Melley - Business Growth Advisor
Shawn has over 23 years of experience and leadership in marketing, sales, business analytics, product development and corporate strategy. He has led commercial business units, launched multiple products into new markets, and co-founded a biotech start up.
Shawn is a creative problem solver who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes to uncover areas of growth and opportunity that will help them achieve their goals. He is proficient at evaluating markets, identifying how they will evolve, and positioning products to succeed in the changing landscape.
Outside helping businesses, Shawn spends time with his family and friends outdoors, most often skiing, surfing and tramping.
Shirley van Waveren - Business Growth Advisor
Graduating from Massey University with an Agricultural Science Degree and MBA in exporting, led Shirley to a career within the export ecosystem to help it grow, innovate and increase capability. Having previously run her own Marketing Consultant business, Shirley then worked with NZTE running two key grant programmes valued at $7million annually. These programmes were focussed on developing the IT, Biotech, Design and Screen sectors, plus business enterprise development in the education sector as well as assisting in the setup of the incubator programme across New Zealand.
Shirley spent the last 13 years with The Canterbury Chamber of Commerce running the ExportNZ programme including business capability development for Regional Business Partners. She brings a wealth of experience to the Canterbury business sector focussing on helping businesses grow and improve their capability while maximising their research and development engagement with Callaghan Innovation.
In her spare time Shirley loves walking on the Port Hills with her miniature Dachshund Willow and also enjoys a glass or two of red wine.